Guess what? Your employer's plans to return to the office are getting scrapped.
How does the NY Times expect to put out it's Pulitzer Prize winning fiction (packaged as news) if folks are working collaboratively at the office?
Relax, you commute is going to remain short...15 feet to your home office.
New York Times Puts Return-to-Office Plans on Hold as Covid Cases Rise
Early-June target will be adjusted once conditions improve, company says
By Alexandra Bruell and Chip Cutter, WSJ
Updated May 18, 2022 6:11 pm ET
New York Times Co. has delayed its plan to have employees return to the office a few days a week starting in June due to a Covid spike in New York City, the latest company to make adjustments in the face of a rapid surge in cases.
“Based on the city’s guidance and the advice of our health experts, we are pausing the start of our Expected Phase of return to office until conditions improve,” Jacqueline Welch, the Times’s executive vice president and chief human resources officer, wrote in a memo to staff, a copy of which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
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The company hasn’t set a new return date, according to the memo, which described the reversal as a “brief delay” to its plans for a wider return. The memo said employees who feel comfortable going to the office are encouraged to do so, but suggested that they wear masks in common areas in its New York locations.
Many businesses have set plans for a return to the office in recent months, but they have faced hurdles, from rising Covid cases to a backlash from unions.
Unions at both The Wall Street Journal and New York Times NYT -1.42%▼ have been pushing for negotiations over return-to-office policies. The Journal last week asked its newsroom staff to return to the office at least two days a week starting in July, but gave employees the opportunity to seek exceptions.
A representative for Wall Street Journal parent Dow Jones & Co. didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
In March, the Times told staff in a memo that it expected most people in U.S. bureaus to return to the office three days a week by the week of June 6. It said it would remain flexible in setting appropriate dates for those who are dealing with “extenuating circumstances,” which the company said included living with children under five, school or daycare routines that are difficult to adjust and living with, and caring for, immunocompromised family members.
Employers have been reluctant to broadly delay return-to-office plans despite a rise in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, though some have adjusted requirements.
Apple Inc. on Tuesday paused a plan to bring its employees back to the office three days a week instead of two currently, amid an increase in Covid-19 cases in the San Francisco area and complaints from some workers. Employees are still required to come in two days a week.
Office occupancy has been on the rise across the U.S. for weeks. Offices in 10 major U.S. cities are about 43% full, near a pandemic-era peak, according to data from Kastle Systems, which tracks how many people swipe into buildings.
Some companies that have brought employees back to offices have done so while keeping pandemic safeguards in place. At vaccine maker Moderna Inc., employees using the company’s offices and facilities still take Covid-19 tests daily, said Tracey Franklin, the company’s chief human resources officer.
“It provides a level of comfort to the people who are here,” she said. “It’s not foolproof, but we all test every single day when we come into the office.”
Write to Alexandra Bruell at firstname.lastname@example.org and Chip Cutter at email@example.com